Thursday, July 21, 2016

Four Kings and a Bracelet Winner

Last post (here)I talked about a singular hand from a session.  I isolated that hand out of session at Harrah’s where I met one of my readers for the first time, after a few failed attempts in the past.  We will call said reader Zourah2 as that is the name he uses when he comments on the blog.  I believe that is also the name he used when he used to post on the old AVP forums back in the day.

That’s where we first met, and through Twitter and other social media, we’ve been trying to get together when he visits Vegas. Early in my trip last month, we finally managed meet up.

It turned out to be a pretty good session.  The poker was profitable, the conversation was great, and we even had a very special guest.

I’m just going to refer to him as “Z” from now on, purely out of laziness.

We meet at Harrah’s and ended up playing there, and it didn’t take us too long to get to the same table, and then we were actually able to sit next to each other.  So we had a chance to chat quite a bit.  Although we discussed poker and Vegas and sports and the all the usual stuff, we also had a great conversation about economics.  It seems that Z is an economics professor in the mid-west.  I knew that, but what he didn’t know is that I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Economics many years ago.

So for me at least, it was fun trying to remember economic theory and terminology that I hadn’t really used in years and years so I could impress Z with my knowledge.  I’m not sure I did, but it sure was a different experience playing poker while discussing John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman, not to mention monetary and trade policy.  It was one of the few times since I left college that I actually had a discussion of economics that was beyond the current events level of employment and inflation.  And I think Z was interested to hear my report on what the state of the UCLA Economics department was like when I was there.

Early on I raised to $8 with Ace-King of spades. Z was the only caller. The flop came 9-8-6 all hearts. I made a $12 c-bet and took it down.  I really only mention this hand so that Z will finally know what I had, in case it’s been haunting him.

I limped in from late position with King-8 of spades, then called a small raise.  I think it was around $7, maybe a little bit more.  I was too busy chatting to take timely notes.  There were 6 of us seeing the flop.  It came King-Jack-4.  The preflop raiser checked, but the next guy bet $16 and there were a bunch of callers, including me.  We were down to only five of us seeing the turn.  I wasn’t thinking my top pair, lousy kicker was likely any good.  The turn was a low card, a brick, and this time he bet $30 and it folded to me.  Well, a $30 bet into a $120 or so pot….I didn’t see how I could fold top pair even with my weak kicker.  Just the two of us saw the river, which paired the 4.

This time he bet $55, a pretty small bet for the size of the pot.  I tanked.  But the paired board made me consider the possibility that the Jack might play if he had a King.  I couldn’t see folding.  As soon as I did, he said, “good call…I’ve just got an Ace.”  That was a nice pot.

Unfortunately, I gave some money back to him on the next hand.  I raised to $12 with Ace-King of hearts and had three callers.  The flop came Jack-Jack-10, one heart.  I didn’t c-bet.  I figured a flop like that, three callers, I’m not taking it down with a c-bet.  It didn’t help that I was thinking too much about the heart, and totally missed the fact that I had a gut-shot.  I was too involved in my convo with Z to be concentrating like I should have been.

So, after it was checked around, I also missed the fact that the Queen of hearts on the turn gave me Broadway.  All I saw was not only the nut flush draw, but the gutshot Royal draw.  I was thinking I just needed the 10 of hearts, and missed that the 10 already on the board gave me a straight.  So stupid.  Again no one bet.  I did consider betting my great draw there, but I was kind of wanting to see if I could catch my first Royal in a live poker game, so I went for the free card.  Of course, if I recognized that I already had the straight, I would have bet.

The turn was a 9 of diamonds.  This time the guy whose bluff I called last time shoved his last $41.  It folded to me and of course I called.  He flipped over pocket 9’s.  Oh man, did I blow that one.  I didn’t bet, giving him infinite odds to catch his boat. 

Now, if I had just bet the turn, he’d probably have called with his open-ender.  But would he have  called a flop bet?  Well, maybe he would have, with his small stack.  But regardless, misplaying my hand like that, not seeing the straight, is inexcusable.

I opened to $8 with Ace-2 of diamonds, three callers.  Flop came Jack-8-2.  My $25 c-bet took it.

In the big blind, with pocket 5’s, I saw a flop of King-5-4, two hearts, with six others.  I bet $20 and a short stack shoved for $41.  It folded back to me and of course I called.  We didn’t show and I didn’t like it when a third heart hit the turn, but the board paired on the river giving me the boat. I didn’t need it, all he had was Ace-King, which he had not raised with preflop.

It was then that the hand I described last time, the Kings vs Aces, took place.

By now, our special visitor had joined us.

It turned out Z had invested in a top pro for the summer events.  That would be Scott Davies, owner of a WSOP bracelet, and former blogger at AVP.  I told the story of watching Scott win his bracelet here.  As I mentioned in that post, I had met Scott in person once, for barely a nanosecond. 

Scott had busted early out the event he was playing that day at the Rio, and told Z he would swing by Harrah’s to pick up his stake.  Scott and his wonderful wife Liezl arrived and sat behind us while we played.  This was my first real chance to get to know Scott, and it turns out he is really a great guy.  If I was distracted before he showed up, I was doubly so now, listening to his fascinating anecdotes from the poker world.

We relived that night we watched him win that bracelet down under.  And he told tales about other professional players and even one incredibly famous poker blogger which I am not at liberty to make public.  He also told us how he feels about poker tournaments that start at 10 AM (hint, it’s the same as I do).  And Liezl told the story of how she couldn’t get a flight to join Scott and see him win his bracelet in person.  I’m not sure how long they were sitting behind us, but the time breezed by and I paid scant attention to the poker from then on.  I was kind of lucky that I wasn’t getting anything to play for the most part

Until I did.  From under-the-gun, Z had limped in, and I made it $10 with Ace-Queen of hearts, right behind him. Another player made it $30.  Oh really?  It folded back to Z who thought for a bit and….he made it $80!  Huh?  The limp/re-raise trick?  Actually, it was a limp/4-bet, rarely seen.

I had to figure my lousy Ace-Queen was pretty worthless and folded quickly.  The guy who had three-bet me shoved, and Z snap-called.  They both flipped over their cards and then laughed, because they both had the same hand.  No, it wasn’t pocket Aces.  They both had the dreaded pocket Kings!

Of course, there was an Ace on the flop, and had I stayed in I would have won a huge pot.  See, even when I don’t have pocket Kings I lose with them!

But I didn’t feel bad about the result, it would have been a terrible call to put my stack in play with Ace-Queen after a three-bet and a limp/4-bet.  Z had been playing pretty tightly and I was actually kind of surprised he “only” had Kings there.  Anyway, there was no four-card flush so they chopped the pot.

Of course, we were all going “wow” when we saw the exposed cards, including Scott who was watching from the rail.  Then I recalled that Z had actually limped in…with Kings!  I said, “Z, you limped in with Kings?”  He replied, “Yeah….I was trying to impress Scott.”  Scott said, “Oh believe me, I was impressed.”  Kind of think Scott was maybe humoring Z there.

So I put it all together and said, “What a hand….two pairs of pocket Kings, a limp/re-raise, a WSOP bracelet winner….man, do I have a story for the blog!”  That got us all laughing and now I’m finally telling the story.

I don’t remember if I pressed Z more about limping in there.  This was not the kind of table where there was all that much raising.  He could have easily not been given the opportunity to re-raise.  It was a pretty risky play.  As it turns out, it made no difference, the hand was going to play out the way it did anyway.

I went back to being card and enjoying the conversation.  When we all decided to move on, I had cleared a small $55 profit, not bad for not paying attention.  I had a lot more fun than that, for sure.  It was great meeting Z, Scott and Liezl, all great people.


  1. It always hurts when you know you made a big mistake yourself. The Kings limping hand was fun!

    1. Yeah, those mistakes so haunt you.

      Yep, that was a fun hand and only cost me $10 (KK vs KK)...of course I would have tripled up if I called but it would have been such a bad play.